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Aviation Land Use Compatibility Program - Example Scope of Work

Every county, city and town is required to adopt comprehensive plan policies and development regulations that will discourage the siting of incompatible uses adjacent to public use general aviation airports. (36.70.547 RCW)

The Aviation Land Use Compatibility Program focuses on three areas that form a nexus around which decision-makers and stakeholders must craft responsible land use policies to preserve airports from the siting of adjacent incompatible land uses and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community. They include height hazards, safety and noise. Many strategies are available to discourage the siting of incompatible land uses and WSDOT Aviation encourages the airport sponsor and the local land use jurisdiction to cooperatively work together to develop comprehensive plan policies and development regulations to meet their obligations under State Law.

One of the first steps in addressing land use compatibility adjacent to public use general aviation airport should be the development of a scope of work or work plan. A scope of work should examine key project objectives, define present and future expectations, and identify studies analysis needed to met program objectives. The intent of the scope of work is to provide airport sponsor and local land use jurisdictions with useful and understandable information and guidance to develop a land use compatibility study that examines important information needed to develop strategies to protect airport facilities. A scope of work can also be an excellent tool for increased communication among stakeholders and provides a framework for community involvement.


    • WSDOT Aviation -- Airport Land Use Compatibility Planning Program


    • Role of Airport Sponsors
    • Role of Local Land Use Jurisdiction
    • Joint Planning Responsibilities and Goals


    • Development of County-wide Policies
    • Development of an Aviation Element within Metropolitan Planning Organizations and/or Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) documents
    • Development of Comprehensive Plan Goals and Policies within affected jurisdiction
    • Development of Consistent Compatible Land Use Development Regulations


    • Identify key contact persons, aviation interest groups, public and neighbor organizations and other
    • Establish a citizen advisory committee and/or technical advisory committee.
    • Develop public meeting schedule for public information meetings, public workshops and public hearings to allow public review and comment Public meeting should begin early in the process.
      • Kick-off meeting to present and discuss background information, which may include planning process, purpose, historic data, existing land use information, airport characteristics, current conditions and so forth.
      • Discussion of study analysis, recommendations and strategy alternatives.
      • Review draft comprehensive plan goals, policies and consistent land use maps.
      • Review of proposed implementation strategies and development regulations
      • Final report recommendations, comprehensive plan goals and policies and implementing regulations.
  5. DEFINE STUDY AREA (Airport Influence Area)

    The study area is defined by overlaying the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) 14 CFR Part 77 “imaginary surfaces”, Aircraft Accident Safety Zone data and Noise Contour data over the top of an existing land use map, critical areas map or other base map. If possible information should be presented on a GIS-based map layers.

    • 14 CFR Part 77 Imaginary Surfaces

      Imaginary surfaces are defined in relation to the airport and to each runway. The size of these imaginary surfaces is based on the category of each runway for current and future airport operations. Any objects which penetrates these surfaces is considered an obstruction and affects navigable airspace.

    • Aircraft Accident Safety Zone Data

      The accident safety zones represent data clusters of historical aircraft accidents. The data was collected from the National Transportation Safety Board (NRSB) and analyzed in several studies to first determine the shape of the zone based on the greatest cluster of accident sites per acre and second on the ratio of accidents per acre changes.

    • Noise Contour Data

      Noise contours represent noise levels generated from aircraft operations, takeoff and landing of aircraft. Noise contours are generated based on methodology developed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Noise contour data provides information that can be used to identify varying degrees of noise impacts on the surrounding area. Not every airport will have noise contour data and local jurisdictions should check with the airport sponsor on the availability of this information.


    • Record Review

      1. Current Regulations

        • Revised Code of Washington (RCW)

          • 14.08 Municipal Airports
          • 14.12 Airport Zoning
          • 36.70.547 General Aviation Airports – Siting of incompatible uses.
          • 36.70A.070(6) Transportation element and inventory
          • 36.70A.200 Siting of essential public facilities
          • 47.06 Statewide Transportation Planning
          • 47.68 Aeronautics

        • Washington Administrative Code (WAC)

          • 365-190 Growth management act – Procedural criteria for adopting comprehensive plans and development regulations.

        • Federal Aviation Administration (FAR)

          • CFR Title 14 Aeronautics and Space
      2. Supporting Guidelines, Studies and Reports

        • Identify and utilize previous (name) Airport studies/reports

          • Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan (ALP) – Some airports may not have an airport master plan. The master plan identifies existing and future airport objectives.
          • Airport Action Plans
          • Historical airport activity

        • Applicable regional and state aviation system plans

          • Airport and Compatible Land Use, Vol. 1, An Introduction and Overview for Decision-Makers, prepared by WSDOT Aviation Division, 1999.
          • Washington State Aviation Policy Plan, prepared by WSDOT Aviation Division, 1998.
          • WSASP Washington State Airport System Plan Database, Airport Facility information, prepared for WSDOT Aviation, 2003.
          • Economic Impacts of Washington Airports, Latest Findings – Airports Create Jobs and Money, prepared for WSDOT Aviation Division, 2001.
          • Puget Sound Regional Airport System Plan, prepared by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), 2001.
          • Puget Sound Strategic Plan for Aviation, prepared by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), 2001.

        • Applicable local comprehensive plans and special studies

        • Other Studies and resource materials

          • Functions and Benefits of Rural Airports in Washington, Determining Infrastructure Needs for Rural Mobility, prepared for WSDOT WSDOT Aviation, 2002.
          • Overview of FAR Part 77 Imaginary Surfaces Video, prepared for the WSDOT Aviation, 2002.
          • Airport Land Use Planning Handbook, Guidance for Airport Land Use Compatibility Planning, prepared by Moen Shutt and Associates, 2002.
          • FAA Advisory Circulars:

            • AC 150/5200 – 33 Hazardous Wildlife Attractants on or Near Airports
            • AC 150/5200-34 Construction of Establishment of Landfills Near Public Airports
            • AC 150/5020-1 Noise Control and Compatibility Planning for Airports
            • AC 150/5050-4 Citizen Participation in Airport Planning
            • AC 150/5050-6 Airport Land Use Compatibility Planning
            • AC 150/5070-6A Airport Master Plans
    • Background Information and Analysis

      1. Inventory Existing Land Uses, Infrastructure and the Natural environment

        • Residential, industrial, commercial, recreation, open space, vacant lands, agriculture, etc..
        • Public and semi-public facilities such as schools, churches, hospitals, nursing home, convention centers and similar uses.
        • Hazardous waste sites or explosive materials (above ground gasoline storage).
        • Landfills and waste transfer centers.
        • Critical Areas including wetlands.
        • Topography.

      2. Inventory transportation modes and connections to the airport

        • Define ground transportation facilities.
        • Level of Service standard.
        • Impacts
        • Proposed transportation improvement.

      3. Collect Historical Population Growth and Socioeconomic Factors

        • Collect historical and forecast data on population and employment.
        • Collect current and future development and economic plans around the airport.

      4. Identify Airport Characteristics and Air Traffic Activity (information is contained within the WSASP database and airport master plan)

        • Airport Classification.
        • Service Capability.
        • Cargo and freight.
        • Based general aviation aircraft by fleet mix, i.e. turboprop, single engine, multi-engine, and helicopters. Located within WSASP Database.
        • Number of Annual Operations, ie, jet, turboprop, single piston, helicopters, training and itinerant (non-based aircraft) operations by fleet mix.
        • Runway utilization percentage and type of aircraft use. (Many airports have more than one runway).
        • Traffic pattern for each runway, standard or non standard.
        • Typical departure and arrival corridors.
        • Discussion with tenants on estimated current and future activity. May be available within Airport Master Plan.

      5. Identify Airport Facilities

        • Collect information on existing and planned airport faculties, landside facilities and property available for future aviation uses.


    • Overlay on to the Airport Influence Base Map and assess Land Use Conflicts with the FAR Part 77 “Imaginary Surfaces”, Accident Safety Zones and Noise Contours Elements.

      1. Map and Evaluate natural obstructions and airspace penetration of FAR Part 77 Surfaces.

        • Identify and classify objects and natural features affecting airspace.

      2. Map and Evaluate existing land uses within accident safety zones
        1-6. Analysis in terms of compatibility and identify.

        • Classify and identify type, location and extent of existing land uses within each of the zones.
        • Identify density and intensity of land uses.
        • Identify and analyze minimum, average, and median lot sizes.
        • Identify open space areas, recreation vacant lands and critical areas.
        • Review historical development patterns.

      3. Map and Evaluate existing land uses within noise contours

        • Classify and identify land uses by type within noise contours 65dbl or greater.
        • Evaluate ambient noise levels
    • Analyze and Evaluate Comprehensive Plan, Development Regulations and Other Controls For Each of the Elements Above.

      1. Evaluate comprehensive plan goals and policies and other planning documents for potential conflicts

        • Identify potential conflicting goals and policies within the Land Use Element, Transportation Element, Economic Development and Capital Facilities Plan if applicable.
        • Identify strategies or methods that may reduce potential conflicts.
        • Identify alternative site locations for locating incompatible development outside of the airport influence area.

      2. Evaluate the zoning map, development regulations and other controls for consistency with the comprehensive plan

        • Identify potential conflicting regulations, ie subdivisions, permitted uses, conditional use permits, planned developments, building standards and other similar regulations.
        • Identify strategies or methods for reducing potential conflicts.

      3. Determine to what extent potential future conflicts may be reduced.

    • Identify comprehensive plan goals/policies and constant land use map designation alternates that discourage siting of incompatible land use designations and uses
    • Identify consistent development regulations and/or standards

      1. Zoning Code

        • FAR Part 77 “Imaginary Surfaces”. Height regulations to prohibit penetration of imaginary surfaces.
        • Designation of compatible zoning districts and/or utilizing compatible use overlay zoning district.
        • Prohibiting uses identified as incompatible within zoning districts or within an overlay zoning district.
        • Performance review and development criteria.
        • Critical Areas – wildlife hazards
        • Transfer development rights program and/or
        • Disclosure Notice requirements

      2. Zoning Map Designations

        • Compatible land use zoning categories

      3. Subdivision Code/Binding Site Plans

        • Disclosure notice requirements.
        • Minimum review criteria, i.e. lot configuration, cluster, height, building code (noise), critical area and other related issues

      4. Building Code

        • Building height
        • Noise construction standards
        • Explosive/hazardous materials
    • Prepare Final Report Recommendations and Evaluate Risk and Liability